A Late Quartet

A fascinating movie seems to be released very soon. It's titled "A Late Quartet". The caption says as follows;

"Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust."


A quartet is the most stable and perfect style of music performance. Four voices compose a cosmos. Nothing unnecessary nor lacking. The trailer of this movie features Nr16 Quartet of Beethoven, I believe. It sounds great.

The actors or actress seem quite amateur for string instruments. But they are playing nicely. According to the trailer, the cellist seems to be suffering from Parkinsonism. There seems to be a crisis in the couple of the members. It is most plausible for a quartet of aged players. I would like to see how he and the rest of the quartet struggle for such a problem.

I am looking forward to watching this movie soon. I should install the display and DVD player in my room... 


A drive on the Reiheishi Highway to Nikko

  Today, after finishing a chore in a city north of here, I drove up to Nikko, the area famous for the shrine deifying the first Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa who started the era of Edo in the 17th century. Nikko is further north of here located among mountains.
A road named the Reiheisi Highway leads form south to Nikko. They say some religious missions have been sent to that shrine on regular basis. The name of this Highway means that. There are beautiful cedar trees along the road in some portion of the Highway. They are hundreds years of age.
I used to work at a hospital in Nikko as a part time doctor when I became a doctor in 1980s. Sometime, I ran this road on the way to and from that hospital. In the winter, the road was often frozen and slippery those days. When I finished my duty for a whole day at the hospital early in the morning, I used to purchase freshly baked bread for souvenir to my family at a bakery near the hospital and hurried to the dorm at the med school hospital. It has been sometime since I drove there.
I forgot bringing my camera. In stead, I found this video clip in Youtube. It was taken in a morning early in spring. There was sunray shining through those cedar trees planted on each side of the road. It looked almost the same today even though sunray came in from the opposite side. It was late afternoon today. Not much traffic exactly in the same way as this video shows.
Ieyasu Tokugawa was deified by his family and the government because such a being to unite the people was needed for governance of the country. There have been examples of such deifications of leaders all over the world in the history. Politics necessitates such deification anywhere as well as any time in the history. So is it applied to the present world. I was thinking of such a thing listening to the hollow address of our Prime Minister at the Congress through a radio program. We don't need a dictator but a real leader. In the world populism dominates, is it possible for us to have a real leader? It is not the problem of the capability of the leader candidates but rather a question on our side. Could we evaluate a leader properly and esteem him as a real leader?  


WW SSB Contest 2012

It has been a fabulous conditions on the bands this week end. Not much activity on CW made me watch around the WW SSB Contest.

For several years, I haven't heard all of the SSB portion of 15m has been full with contesters on Sunday morning. 10m was also very active with the contesters spreading up to 28650KHz. This might mean we are on the height of the sun spot cycle. On 40m, I barely heard any East Coasts. It might be a coincidence or not but I have heard only very few calls known to me.

In Japan, there were pretty many guys in the contest. But again there were only few I knew. A remarkable change was that there were very few university clubs participating it. So far as I heard, only JA3YBK and JA7YAA were pretty active. Of course, because I have listened the bands only for limited time, there should be the others in it whom I have not accidentally heard. It has been some years since I heard JA7YAA last time. It was an unexpected pleasure for me. The university clubs used to be very active in major contests and was a cradle for new comers in ham radio in Japan. It is important that the clubs are activated for whatever.

There were much activity from China and Indonesia. Chinese operators were mostly not experiened in contesting. But in a few years, they would be a big party making world top score. It sounded they had had difficulty to work with NA, especially, East Coast. The window opens only for a short while, I know from the experience of operation as XU0JA in 1991. Is it a rainy season in SE Asia? There should be a lot of static noise over there as well.

Feeling a bit sad that there were only very few familiar calls in the contest, I still gave a dozen of them a call and my number on 40m before switching off the gear.


Clem W1EVT

Clem used to be the only East Coast I could hear with my wire antenna in 1960s. I could not forget his wobbly signal on 40m coming over the north pole. Since I came back on the air in 1980, I had had good QSOs with him at first as NY1N and then as W1EVT again. I used to try visiting him with Bill K1YT in Stow when I stayed at Bill's home in 1991. But we could not find out the entrance gate there! Numerous high towers were standing there. Ladder lines were coming into his home. But no entrance found there.

For the past several years, I have not heard him on the air at all. He used to show up on the air in the long path season but never came through here in any season for these years. However, on 10m this morning, I met Don K1DC who told me he had met Clem in eye ball a month ago. Don used to be in Boston area and moved dwon to Ala. a year ago. He seemed to have met Clem at some ham convention over there in Mass.  

Don told me Clem was now 93 years old and was not very active on the radio. But the big arrays of his antenna are still working OK. Clem told him he was cooking by himself. Clem used to work with Uda at MIT who had invented the Yagi Uda antenna system with Yagi. He has been a person of testimony for the development of ham radio. I really hope him to live long and to operate radio if possible.

It was good to know about Clem from Don this morning.


The reason for the shorties

The reason why the shorties are so prevailing on ham radio seems interesting to me. Even more than interesting to me because it is related with how to enjoy radio and with the way of my life itself.

I can not help pointing out that there is a liking not to be related with others so much but to enjoy as many QSOs as possible. Of course, we should admit such as QRP operators should go on in the sorty style owing to their limited set up. But it is an exception. The basic trend is to get satisfied with making as many QSOs as possible.

It is like in contests or DX pile ups. Contesting and DXing might be leading to the prevalence of this QSO style. They might learn to work with others as short as possible. Reports and promise exhchanging QSL cards are good enough. More than that should be too much. It might seem cool to get QSOs finished as short as possible. I am sure this trend is the same as contesting and DXing. The latter is strengthening the trend as well.

I repeatedly told that it was a problem of balance. It is getting imbalanced. Some contests are being held all over the world almost every week end. Now a 10m contest is going on on 10m while AP Sprint is on all bands at present. Contesting and DXing are fun events for hams.  Those activities are getting more and more planned as there are less general activities on the air nowadays. Some clubs are trying to maintain the members' activities with those events. Awards are the same kind of thing to arbitrarily stimulate activities of hams. But They won't give us the real pleasure communication gives us, I believe. Contesting and DXing are the peripheral events in ham radio activities, even if not the least things, in my point of view.

Another point I should clear is that the hams might not have "room in mind" to enjoy onversations. Time wise as well as psychologically. In conversation, we should have mental energy to get involved in the others. Haven't we lost that kind of energy even when we are ready to operate radio? And aren't we too busy at the other things than communication on the radio? The others behind the head phone and the keyer must be a kind of automatic replying machine. I am feeling that way sometimes. I am trying to pull the big switch in such a case. It is not good for me as well as the others to carry on QSOs without any interests to the others.

As John 9V1VV has clearly demonstrated in his comment for the previous post, there are too much pauses and silences in QSOs. I really would like to fill my mind with good conversations.


As a probable peasant descendant

My ancestors must be peasants somewhere in old ages. I could concentrate in gardening and farming in the garden. My old genes might make me feel that way.
In a corner of the garden, after having cut and pulled the weeds and their roots, I plowed the ground to make a couple of small farms. Very tiny but good enough for my purpose. Kneading the neutralizing chemical and the compost into the soil there, I have planted the seeds of spinach in the farm in front. Cabbages may be planted in the back one later. 

I have felt vivid myself in the garden since my forties. I had not been interested in gardening/farming at all. It was my father who took care of the garden those days. Gradually, I have taken over his work, even though I could not do it perfectly at all.

At the time of the nuclear power plant being blasted last year, I was eagerly caring for the lawn at another portion of the garden. I felt the plume bringing the radioactive substances here might endanger our lives from its base. Fortunately, it turned out not to be too bad in this area. I could not, however, forget the feeling that our being itself was in peril at that time. I have become strongly against the nuclear power usage for any purpose then. It might come from the instinct within me as a probable peasant descendant.

Anyway, it is good for me to work in the garden under shining sun.

Tad ex JA1KFN/J2KN

Recently, I don't know why but have often remembered an old timer, Tad, ex JA1KFN/J2KN.

I met him on the air in my newcomer days. He used to be a good friend of Ralph Multon WB6BFR. Ralph was a kind old timer and used to work with me quite often on 40m CW. Ralph was an elmer for me. When Ralph and his wife visited Japan in mid '60s, Tad has planned a reception party in Tokyo. I applied for that meeting.

Though I was not able to converse with Ralph so much or even the other japanese old timers there, he and the company used to welcome me there. It was a beer garden of Kanda Seiyouken at Ueno. A muggy summer evening, I believe. Tad was a kind guy aged around 50 years or so at that time. He was a not tall but thin guy. With a kind of high pitched voice and good sense of humor, he has played as the master of ceremonies there. It was not only a ham meeting I first attended but also the very first social activity among adult people for me, a teen age boy, studying mechanical engineering at a college or even before that. He treated me as a grown up at that time.

It had passed over ten years when I ran across with Tad again on the air. It was around 1980. I was very happy to have found him with the same old bug. He have retired by that time and was quite active on the air. We have conversed on CW with simple English. He won't operate SSB or CW in Japanese Morse Code. When 20m was dead for any DX late at night, we often had slow but enjoyable chats on CW. His unique bug keying is still very vivid in my memory. We have exchanged New Years' Greeting cards for several times. But no other means to contact with him. His slow and a bit deformed bug was the only way to communicate with me. Despite of the limit in conversing abilities on each side, he had the definite will to communicate with CW. It was a joy to talk to him. He must be already over 70 years of age at this time.

In  several years, I had a letter from his wife, telling me of his passing away. He used to be a pioneer ham as J2KN in Japan just before WWII and had been an active ham thereafter. I have known how he had lived from the correspondence with his wife for some time. I surely missed him and felt a great time of ham radio had gone for me.

I would ask myself if I had been so kind to the others, especially to the beginners, and fulfilled my life with the joy of ham radio for myself and for the others. The fruit of our lives become evident to ourselfves in the last days of our lives. I should be aware of this. Recalling Tad, I contemplate of my own life in the past in this way.  


Variations of Brahms

Brahms has composed a number of impressive variations. String Sextet Nr2 is one of the examples. The 4th movement of his last symphony could never be forgotten. This is another variation which touches our heart. This trio performs one of the bests for this variation. The cello sounds heartfelt.


The tempo is fairly slow compared with the other modern performers. They play each variation in the thorough way the composer would express it. The last variation starting with cello solo could not help making audience feel touched a lot. What emotion they put in this pianissimo!

Last year, I have played this trio at a small concert. I was so happy to play it even at practice. I felt rewarded spending hours for the practice.

This is one of the best tunes Brahms has left for us.

The shorty ones

The conditions are getting better on the air. So quiet and open to the areas over the pole. I have been working several East Coasts on 15m this morning. Again I have met a few guys calling me only their calls. When they call me a bit off the frequency as well as off the timing, I am always perplexed and wondering if I should reply to him/her. It could be often misleading. They sound as if in a pile up or in DX contest. Such guys always finish QSOs with the report and name only. Very busy people.

I don't believe it is a good habit to omit the other's call or DE before own call. So I won't reply to those calling me in that style. If I respond them, it means I admit their way of operation and help it to prevail in CW communication.

Those guys always go away as soon as they finish exchanging the reports and the names only. They must be thinking that they have spent time effectively. As I repeatedly tell, it is meaningless for me to make contacts in this way. I would let them do in that way with the same kind of guys. I would not do that.



A short trip to a hot spa

One way or another, I have been a little bit busy at chores. Away from those things, I wanted to go for a short trip to mountain area north of here. Yesteday, when I finished lunch, I ran my car toward the mountain area. It was fine and cool. It could not be better for such a drive. Despite of solitude on car, I felt pretty good on the way. In half an hour, however, I found there were thick clouds covering that area I was heading to. I have changed my destination to a hot spa nearby as the GPS navigator instructed.

It is a pretty flat area where we are living. But, running north for sometime, we could see hills in ranges between plain areas. These hills are ranged from the high mountains in Fukushima. It is a farming area. Sparsely populated. The rice was alrady harvested. Very few people on the roads.

Driving through those rice paddies, I have reached the hot spa which I had destinated without knowing what place it was. It was on a top of a hill. But, unfortunately and inexplicably, closed. No one there. The facilities were vacant and ruined.

I didn't know of this hot spa as I told. But I am sure it was constructed in the era of bubble economy in '80s. Those days, our government was required to invest for public enterprises by the US. The investment was up, they say, to 80 trillion USD. Our government made a schema to have local governments invest for them with their local governmental bonds. The government was supposed to pay for that as subsidies to the local governments on yearly basis. The Prime Minister Koizumi has cut that subsidies to them all of sudden, which resulted in the financial crisis in quite some local governments all over Japan. In addition to higher proportion rate of elderly in the countrysides, it has made them fall into the present difficult situation. I am not sure if this hot spa was one of those investments, which have financially failed at many places. Anyhow, it has reminded me of those facilities or buildings built in those days which have been ruined thereafter.

From this place, we could enjoy a beautiful scenary over the hills.

I consulted to the GPS navigator again, which gave me another hot spa for a change. It is named Kurobane Hot Spa just south of the border to Fukushima Prefecture. I ran the country road without much traffic. I found a big tomb site in the ancient age beside the road. It is over 300 feet in length. There were pine trees growing on it. The grass was neatly cut there. It seemed to be prepared for sight seeing. Though I don't know exactly how old this tomb was, generaly speaking, such a tomb must be constructed by and for a local dominator in the 5 or 6th century. It is surprising that there are hundreds of such tomb sites in this area. It is mysterious why they have constructed such tombs for themselves those days. Maybe, primitive religion firmly believed by them forced them to do so. A book of history in this era told me it was a symbol to get the tribe united those days as well.

It has not taken me so long before reaching the hot spa. It was still on a hill just next to a athletic field. Fortunately, it has not been collapsed yet! But there were only few people in the facility. A gorgeous building and beautifully arranged garden.

The bath was a large one. One indoor, the other outdoor. The hot water is transparent without no sulfar odor. I soaked myself for some 20 min and got out of there.
When got out, I felt the cool breeze on my face. Relaxed enough. It was the time for me to go back home. On the way back, there were scenes typical for our countryside. I used to drive with my family as well as my mother in this area. So everywhere looked familiar to me even though I was not sure when I drove around a particular place. Much fond memories everywhere.
In a few weeks, the foliage might turn colorful. The sun was fast to set. Mother used to tell the sun was running down the horizen so soon in the fall. I felt as if she were on the side seat telling that to me.

Near to our home, I dropped in a supermarket where I bought foods for supper. I have returned to the normal routine again. Relaxing but a little bit lonely trip.

I have been listening the following musics on the way.
Mendelssohn Piano Trio Nr1
Brahms Piano Quartet Nr1,2,3


A plum tree

This plum tree is about 20 years old. My father used to plant it here at a corner of our yard. It had not grown much for the first several years. A small poor outlook tree. It was not until we sprayed insecticide chemical on it before spring that we knew that this tree was vulnerable to insects. It has become very healthy and has grown up taller year by year after insecticide procedure was done every spring.
In a few years, it has grown to this size. Full of leaves on the branches in spring. When I walked under the tree one day in spring, I felt something touching on my head. It was when I found it had bore hundreds of plums. The leaves had hidden the fruits. Needless to say we have had fresh plums for a week or so. A bagful plums every morning.
Unfortunately, it has been suffering from some kind of mold for the past few years. It went almost dead. I heard too abundant branches with leaves could bother to get it ventilated and the resulting high humidity within the tree made mold increased so much. This fall I decided to cut some branches climbing on a ladder. This is the tree with the unnecessary branches already cut. A hard work for me. Will it bear so many fruits next spring? 



Haiku mimics

Calling CQ on a band again and again
        Only RBN is replying to me through the internet

Listening a band for any DX friend
      Only beacons are coming through here

A friend of mine telling me that it will survive due to its inconvenience itself
       I am afraid its apparent vacancy in the content won't attract young people any longer

Expecting much fruitful discussion by the internet tool
      I still face to difficulty to be understood and to stimulate the others

Congrats to Prof Nakayama

I would congratulate to Prof Nakayama on being awarded for Nobel Prize. In Japan, he is the 2nd award recipient for the medicophysiological area in N. P. after Prof Tonegawa. Tonegawa has made a brilliant study in immunology. Since I was involved in some immunological study those days, I was thrilled to know of his accomplishment regarding the elucidation of the diversity in immunological recognition. Nakayama's work as for iPS cell is also epoch making to the same extent as Tonegawa. This technology might open the door for new regenerative medicine.

The biggest difference between two of them is that Nakayama was originally from the clinical medicine while Tonegawa was a graduate of the faculty of biology in Kyoto Univ. Medical doctors are always behind those from biology, biochmistry or pharmacology for the undergraduate degree regarding the research works. And he was a graduate from Kobe Univ. which is a pretty good and old school but is not given much research resources in Japan. Before he was invited to Kyoto Univ, he had started his research on iPS at another school in Nara, which was not given much funds for research either. Even at the present school, he seemed to need funds for further study. I have mentioned in my japanese blog that he was appealing for any donation for his study in the internet. He told there he would run a marathon race, his another hobby, and if he got good result, he wanted them to donate for his research. Maybe, from now on, he might be blessed with a bit more funds for the research and doesn't need to run in marathon for the fund any longer.

They say he often concludes his speech with the message that it is just the start for he has not helped any patient with his technology yet. He is surely oriented for clinical medicine. It is only possible for a medical doctor. He must be focusing on those patients who need help by regenerative medicine. I am so glad a medical doctor was awarded for this prize.  


Muscular tension in manipulating paddle

Steve, N6TT, published his operation on CW in the Ustream video clips here. He is a proficient CW operator. His CW sounds smooth and elegant. He has been trying to brush up his fist for years. I was really surprised to hear his fist reached a summit as CW operator when he changed his paddle from a double lever to a single lever. His sending has become perfect. That new Begali single lever has fit his fist for sure. And I was impressed at his never ending efforts to improve his capability as a CW operator.

Apart from that topic, here I would like to discuss about the posture we take when sending CW. I found one thing in his keying different from my style. He stretched his right elbow when he manipulated the paddle. In my case, that position of right elbow makes a bit more errors in sending.

I believe it is related with the basic tension on the arm/hand muscles. In extended posture of the arm, the tension could be rather high and could make fine and quick movements of the arm/hand a little bit difficult. I mean the elbow is the main part involved in the posture. If the elbow is flexed slightly, it is easy to keep the arm/fingers relaxed. It is comparable to the performance of cello. Cellists are taught to keep the arms/hands in slight flexion as if we hugged something when we play cello. This posture tires us less and enables any smooth movements of arms/hands necessary for the performance of cello.

I won't give a lesson to such an expert as Steve as for how to manipulate a paddle. In fact, his sending is always perfect even if he runs faster than 30WPM etc. Precisely observing him in the Ustream video, his arm is still very slightly flexed. He might be feeling relaxed in this posture, maybe. I should ask him about this in the next QSO.

One more thing. The accuracy of sending is closely related with our mental condition and/or alertness. It is interesting that whenever we try to make it perfect, we shall make more errors. Being nervous about the accuracy often worsens it. The relaxation in mind is always as crucial as the relaxed muscle tone. Nervousness may directly affect the muscle tone. It may be again comparable to the performance of musical instruments. In addition, being alert is another factor determining the accuracy in sending as well. Needless to say, the alertness is needed in any physical as well as mental activity. Steve often just watch the band in the morning hours until the java tea gets him alert enough! He spends those hours in right way. On the contrary, when lager or dark one makes me sleepy at night, I always pull the big switch soon saying good night to him, before my sending may sound like a brain storm to him.


Mike W7LPV

An old friend of mine, Mike W7LPV, has sent me a video clip in Youtube. It shows him playing the famous  piano sonata titled Moon Light Sonata by Beethoven. It was an homage to his piano teacher, a visually handicapped lady, who had taught Mike since 5 years of age.
Mike lives in Sedona Ariz. I wanted to visit him this summer. But the tight schedule prevented me from visiting him in a beautiful resort area. I would like to see him in the near future and to listen to him playing piano more. A heartfelt pianist. Of course, he has been a good friend through CW communications for years.
He said the other performances will be shown in Youtube soon.     


About Obamacare

I know many people in the US are against Obamacare. About 70 to 80% of the people whom I met in person or on the air critisized this reformation program. In my opinion, however, it is even incomplete for the health care reformation. It is difficult for me to understand why this program has been so sturdily opposed in the US. In the supreme court, this program was judged constitutional. But the reinforced medicaid program was not, so far as I heard.

One point they blame it is that the people should be responsible for their health by themselves. It sounds like a remnant of pioneer spirit. But it is not the days of the pioneer now. If you should be seriously sick and could not affort the expensive medical care, how do you think of the situation? Healthy people won't appreciate how important the insurance system is. You will know it once you get sick. When you get seriously sick, you seem to be most likely to be bankrupted in the US without costly insurance. Is it acceptable to most of the people there?

The 2nd issue is the budget necessary for the reformation. It will take you much money to establish the individual mandate sustem as the opponents to the Obamacare say. I wonder if it is right or if it is biased by the campaign of the insurance capitals. The US medical expenditure is famous for its high cost, that is, 18% of GDP, at present. Most expensive medical service in the world. Yes, rich people could afford the most cutting edge medical treatments in the world. But one person out of 6 could not afford any insurance. Quite some of the people could have only ER type treatments. In several states with conservative leaders won't accept the Obamacare. Their ideology deprives the state people of the chance for reasonbale medical treatments even though the state people pay the same amount of the federal tax. The insurance capitals are gaining 20% of profit from the total income. At least, the logic of capitalism is not appropriate in this field.

I am concerned about this issue since our system seems to head to that in the US. The factor making it worse is our bureaucracy in our country. Now I am becoming one of those taking medical services apart from the side of medical service giver. I could not help being much concerned about it here. I won't care for the Presidential Election going on right now in the US or any theological arguments between the concservative and the liberal. Any suggestion or comment based on the reality is welcomed.

A big mess by several contests

Light epigastric pain has woke me up so early in the morning. I know it's due to too much eating last night. Having prepared several dishes for our daughter's birthday, I enjoyed them by myself also. It is the time for me to change eating habit a little bit. Now my stomach could not put up with too much foods coming into it at one time. An aging thing in addition to shallow sleep.

I came into the radio shack. There seem a few contests going on at the same time. Earlier in the evening, Chinese hams were shouting CQ WAP on 40m CW. What was WAP? In Japan, a big domestic contest is gong on on both CW and SSB, whose joiners are not numerous at this time in a day. Or is it due to the skipping of the bands? Europeans are exchanging some unique abbreviations possibly standing for their QTH as the number in an unkown contest. An Australian was sending serial numbers on SSB. Is it an Oceanian contest? There are CA QSO Party participants on CW and SSB as well. I felt dizzy at those numbers contests going on at the same time. When so many contests go on at the same time, the participants at each contest must be lower in number. It will be of less fun for them, won't it? I don't care for any contests for now. But I still worry about them. Contests are competition for only limited number of guys while they are a kind of feasts to show up each other. If so, they could be of more fun if more numbers of stations join them. Why won't they get those contests united into one or two being held at the same time?

I found Bill N7YT calling CQ on a higher freq on 20m. The signal was not loud enough. But, appreciating his guts to call CQ for plain QSO in such contest mess, I have given him a call. He told me he had tested the keyer he took over from his father. I could not go on talking with him for a long time due to the dropped condition. It seemed his father had passed away recently. Thinking that my keyer won't be used by any kid of mine after my SK, I thought his father must have felt satisfied to have his key taken over by Bill. Before his signal went down below the noise, I gave him 73 telling his keyer was working perfect. I prefer such a QSO to mechanical and depersonalized ones in any contest.


QRP operation

In this height of the sun spot cycle, I am often called by QRP stations. My ears are often strained much to copy them. The following items are already well known technique for QRPer but, hopefully, should be confirmed again by them.

First, QRPer should not add /QRP etc after their call except for in really good condition when QRP signal are supposed to come through loud enough. "/QRP" is often mixed up with the call itself. Imagine how much I feel disappointed to hear  "/QRP" on the plateau of the fading only when I could copy it.  "/QRP" is not the licence to avoid the toll. It is of much less important thing for the receiver than the call itself. Too many QRPers are reapeating  "/QRP" and eventually mixing up the receivers.

QRPers should be most experienced operators. They should know how the bands open. They should do with the phase of fading. In noisy conditions and/or long phase fading, they should slow down the speed of keying irrespective of the other's speed. Of course, they should make least mistakes in sending if not perfect. They should send the message in most compact way. No too abundant messages. It is always impressive to hear how an experienced QRPer sends the message rationally. I learn from those operatros much.

In summary, QRPers should be most imaginative for how his signal is received at the other side. He should train himself to achieve excellent operation technique as well. Yes, QRPers must be the best operator among all hams, I believe. I am thrilled and pleased to see such a QRPer on the air.

Bon Voyage, John!

In 3 days , you will leave for another voyage for 6 weeks. Bon voyage, John. Here is a gift for farewell for a while to you. The piano quartet Nr2 A Dur OP26 by Brahms. I always wonder how you are spending spare time on aboard. Reading? Listening to music? Watching the bands?

Add some chamber musics especially of Brahms to your collection, I know, composed of Baroque. This piano quartet is written in free style like his symphony Nr2. Lyric throughout all the movements. There is some bitterness in the lyricism, though. It is surprising that Brahms has written music in this way at this young age. You may hear him sobbing in the 2nd movement Poco Adagio, with the string instruments performing con sordino in the beginning, which abruptly turned crying out for something in the mid portion. I am sure you will enjoy it especially for a night cap.

Well, I am sorry we could not talk about such as music on the radio in your present vacation. I hope to catch you when you are back home. Take care!


Bringing my cello to a technician for repair

String instruments require maintenance and repair from time to time. My cello made in Italy has a flaw at the peg holes from the beginning. The placing of the holes were not correct. It was managed by grooving a peg around to avoid intereference with a string running over it. It is functioning OK. But I wanted it to correct that since this instrument is otherwise perfect and is a kind of cultural product which might be used by players of next generations. I am often told that if we maintain an instrument in good condition, it will be handled and used to its best of the capability for generations. I wish this cello with mellow and sweet tone will survive hundreds of years and will be loved by many people.

I brought it to an string instrument maker named Takeaki Ito in Kiryu city yesterday. He used to be trained as a technician at Meister S in Tokyo, where I used to bring my instrument years ago. Meister S used to be a trainee in Germany in his young days and got the Meister degree over there. So Ito has a techinique strict and accurate in German method, I believe. His works look also elegant as well. Meister S was a perfect repair person but was a little bit too far from here. When Ito started going on own office several years ago, I  decided to ask him for maintenance and repair of my instrument. It took me over an hour to get to his shop driving the high way even though it is located in the same northern Kanto area. It has been a year or so since I brought my cello to retouch the injuries on the front board caused by the big earthquake in 2011.

Here is his shop. A small but neat one.

He was painting a brand new viola when I visited there. He seemed quite at home in those procedures. He planed to submit this instrument to an big instrumental exposition held in Tokyo this fall.


He is a pretty young guy. A faithful technical expert. Such makers often speal ill of the other's works. But he is not such a person. He makes fair judge on the instruments made by the others. He assured that my cello has been a product of excellent craft.

He told me the business of string instrument making is badly influenced by the economical recession. However, since he got a daughter 2 years ago, he would do what he could do in his business. I fully understood it was a tough choice of profession to have own business since I experienced having own practice almost 20 years ago. I am sure his good work would bring him a success in the future. He was delighted to receive some boiled chesternut from me.

So farewell to my loving cello for a couple of weeks. I will come and bring you back home then.


For the memory of Prose W4BW

In this season, I often recall Prose W4BW, who used to be active on 40m around our sunset. He often gave me a call. Not a long ragchew but always memorable QSOs with him. He ran a KW with 3 element Yagi. Always remarkable signal when the band was opening. He used to send me a photo which showed him sitting on an elevator for the tower. He was smiling there with a glass of whisky on his hand. It was a simple swing like thing lifted by a rope. He told me he had been maintaining the beam on that elevator by himself. He seemed to have enjoyed his retirement with his wife Ellanie.

I liked his fist very much. Fairly slow CW. Appropriate spacing between words. Beautifully perfect to CW ears. I could not express what I felt for his keying but praised it as "manly CW", which he laughed at first but still enjoyed very much. It was only for several years around 1990 when we could hear his manly CW from Tallahassee Fl. It seemed he became inactive on the radio when he lost his wife.

I got the orbituary for him in QCWA web site in early 2000s. Having lost his wife, he has moved to a nursing facility in NY where his family lived. He could operate radio until the end of his life, even though the set up was a limited one. I have never heard him since he moved there. But this news relieved me a little bit. For he could spend his last years near to his family and operate radio there as well.

I surely miss Prose, a real gentle man as well as a perfect CW operator. When I get very few takers for my CQ around our sunset here, I feel the good time lasts only for limited span in our lives. Whenever recalling of Prose, I feel I should make any QSO as the very last one for me. Not a routine one but the very last one. I won't intend to be long faced too much. But it is a reality. Enjoying it as the last one in my life, I could find it not replaceable to anything.

The only regret is that there are less and less prople who enjoy true conversational QSOs like old Prose.

I still call CQ recalling old Prose around our sunset.